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BYU Basketball Player Preview: Jake Toolson looks to expand his game and his role

Can the sophomore sharpshooter become a solid all-around player and earn more minutes this season?

BYU Photo/Meagan Larsen

For most BYU fans, the last name Toolson is synonymous with good shooting — and Jake Toolson definitely showed some promise in that regard during his freshman season.

Toolson shot 40 percent from beyond the arc in his rookie campaign, and 42 percent from the field overall. He played in 26 games, averaging 2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds. Granted, it was going to be hard to find consistent playing time on the wing when Tyler Haws, Chase Fischer, Anson Winder and Skyler Halford were all tabbed to play big minutes in those positions.

Now that those big contributors are gone, those minutes are going to need to be filled by someone. What does Jake bring to the table that would allow him to step into that role?

First and foremost, BYU is losing roughly 46 points per game that were scored by wing players who either graduated or transferred (Haws, Halford, Winder and Frank Bartley). Additionally, there are also 85 minutes per game and 32 field goal attempts per game that those players provided. Toolson should be able to provide some relief in each of those categories. A big chunk of those minutes will likely be given to Nick Emery, but Toolson is well position to compete with Zac Seljaas and Jordan Chatman for the remaining time.

As previously mentioned, Toolson is a perimeter threat. Percentage-wise, he shot well from behind the 3-point line in 2014-15 in limited action. On the season, he hit 16 out of his 40 three point attempts. His minutes were all over the place, which limits how many shots he could actually attempt, but that kind of performace is something that he should really be able to build off and provide a spark from deep.

But there is also a concern in this category: the numbers are kind of skewed. Toolson had one really good game from deep — a 5-for-8 performance against Division III opponent Southern Virginia. So if you throw out a game that was basically an exhibition, he actually went 11-for-32 (34 percent) from behind the line. That's not awful, but certainly less promising than the 40 percent clip we were looking at before.

Another concern is that nearly all of Toolson's shot attempts came on 3-point shots, as he only attempted 10 shots total from inside the arc all season. If Jake can become a little more aggressive getting into the paint, he could, theoretically, actually shoot better this season and get to the free throw line a little more, increasing his efficiency. However, it should be noted that Kyle Collinsworth will have to kick out to somebody now that Haws is gone, so remaining a solid spot-up shooting option will also help his cause.

Another big strength for Jake is his length. He is listed at 6-foot-5, and he has a pretty long wingspan. This should allow him to defend multiple positions and give him more rebounding opportunities from the backcourt — and we've seen Collinsworth demonstrate how effective an aggressive backcourt rebounder can be over the last two seasons. I'm not saying Toolson needs to pull down 8 boards a night, but a solid effort in that area could earn him a few more minutes a game.

(A side note that kind of goes with this topic: I don't remember Toolson being terribly bad on defense, but I also don't remember him being that great either. Someone is going to have to step up and play better defense on the perimeter, so it might as well be Jake.)

I anticipate that we will see a decent amount of Jake Toolson this season. How much will all depend on whether he can hit his spot-up jumpers and attack aggressively once teams try to run him off his spots. If he can become a more well-rounded player, rather than a one-dimensional, low-minute spot up shooter, he could really push some other players for minutes on this BYU team.